Amos 9:1
I saw the LORD standing on the altar: and he said, Smite the lintel of the door, that the posts may shake: and cut them in the head, all of them; and I will slay the last of them with the sword: he that flees of them shall not flee away, and he that escapes of them shall not be delivered.
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(1) The last vision is transferred to the shrine at Bethel, the seat of the calf-worship. The prophet sees Jehovah Himself standing in pomp by the altar of burnt offering, and by His side the angel of His presence, to whom now, as on many other occasions, the mission of destruction has been entrusted. To him the words of Jehovah are addressed (so Aben Ezra, Kimchi). It is doubtful what is meant by the Hebrew Caphtôr (mistranslated “lintel of the door”). It may mean the wreathed capital of the columns, as in Zephaniah 2:14. So Hitzig and Keil. The word sippîm (mistranslated “posts”) properly signifies “thresholds,” but is here understood by the first-mentioned commentator to mean the cornice supported by the columns. This is confirmed by the LXX. on Isaiah 6:4 (see Delitzsch ad loc). But as there is no mention of the temple building, but only of the altar of burnt offering, it is much safer to adhere to the ordinary and well-established significations of these terms. We should accordingly follow Ewald in taking Caphtôr as referring to the ornamented horns of the altar. Similarly, in Exodus 25:31; Exodus 37:17, it signifies the richly decorated extremities of the golden candelabra. The scene is wonderfully vivid. Round the colossal altar of burnt offering a crowd of eager devotees is gathered. Jehovah gives the word of command to His angel, and with a blow that shakes the very threshold the ornamented altar horns are shivered to fragments, which are hurled down upon the panic-stricken multitude below.

And cut . . .—Rather, and dash them in pieces upon the head of all of them.

Amos 9:1. I saw — Namely, in a vision or ecstasy; the Lord — That is, the glory and majesty of the Lord, as Isaiah did, Isaiah 6:1, or a bright glorious light, indicating the presence of God; standing upon the altar — Resting upon, or over the altar. The altar of burnt-offering seems to be meant here, and the glory of God resting upon it to have denoted that his justice demanded the lives of the sinners here spoken of to be cut off. “He stands upon the altar,” says Henry, “to show that the ground of his controversy with this people was their profanation of his holy things: here he stands to avenge the quarrel of his altar; as also to signify, that the sin of the house of Israel, like that of the house of Eli, should not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.” And he said — To an angel, as Jerome explains it; or rather God here speaks to his people’s enemies, and gives them a commission to destroy them and their temple. Smite the lintel of the door — This signified that the temple, which was then represented to the prophet, should be destroyed. Whether this was the temple at Beth-el, or that of Jerusalem, is not quite certain. The Chaldee understands the vision of the kingdom of Judah; if so, the temple at Jerusalem is undoubtedly intended. And even if the vision relates, as most suppose, to the kingdom of Israel, yet still the temple of Jerusalem may be here spoken of, and the scene be laid there, because Israel had forsaken this altar and temple and set up others in opposition to them; and here God, in his jealousy, appears prepared to take vengeance. Possibly, the vision might also be designed to intimate his future departure from Judah too. There Ezekiel 9:2, saw the slaughter-men stand. By the lintel of the door, the chapiter, knop, or ornament that was upon the lintel, is intended, namely, of the door of the gate of the temple, or possibly of the gate that led into the priests’ court. That the posts may shake — The posts were the strength and beauty of the gate, and by these the princes, the door-posts as it were of the nation, are supposed to be represented, as the king is by the lintel of the door. And cut them, wound them deep in the head — That is, the people who were represented in the vision as standing in the court of the temple. He says in the head, more fully to signify the destroying of the chief or heads of this sinful people. All of them — Spare not one of them; let the destruction be general. And I will slay the last of them — That is, their posterity and their families — them, and all that remain of them, till it come to the last man. Observe, reader, there is no living for those of whom God hath said, I will slay them; no standing before his sword. He that fleeth of them shall not flee away — That is, shall not escape. He that escapeth of them shall not be delivered — That is, he that escapeth in battle, or escapes one or two, or even several judgments, shall, nevertheless, not escape finally; but shall fall in some other way, or be made captive. The greatest precaution, and the highest station in life, will not avail a man any thing when God is resolved to punish. This is intended for a warning to all that provoke the Lord to jealousy: let sinners read it and tremble. As there is no fighting it out with God, so there is no fleeing from him. His judgments, when they come with commission, as they will overpower the strongest, who think to withstand them, so they will overtake the swiftest, who think to outrun them.9:1-10 The prophet, in vision, saw the Lord standing upon the idolatrous altar at Bethel. Wherever sinners flee from God's justice, it will overtake them. Those whom God brings to heaven by his grace, shall never be cast down; but those who seek to climb thither by vain confidence in themselves, will be cast down and filled with shame. That which makes escape impossible and ruin sure, is, that God will set his eyes upon them for evil, not for good. Wretched must those be on whom the Lord looks for evil, and not for good. The Lord would scatter the Jews, and visit them with calamities, as the corn is shaken in a sieve; but he would save some from among them. The astonishing preservation of the Jews as a distinct people, seems here foretold. If professors make themselves like the world, God will level them with the world. The sinners who thus flatter themselves, shall find that their profession will not protect them.I saw the Lord - He saw God in vision; yet God no more, as before, asked him what he saw. God no longer shows him emblems of the destruction, but the destruction itself. Since Amos had just been speaking of the idolatry of Samaria, as the ground of its utter destruction, doubtless this vision of such utter destruction of the place of worship, with and upon the worshipers, relates to those same idolaters and idoltries . True, the condenmation of Israel would become the condemnation of Judah, when Judah's sins, like Israel's, should become complete. But directly, it can hardly relate to any other than those spoken of before and after, Israel. "The altar," then, "over" which Amos sees God "stand," is doubtless the altar on which Jeroboam sacrificed, "the altar" which he set up over-against the altar at Jerusalem, the center of the calf-worship, whose destruction the man of God foretold on the day of its dedication.

There where, in counterfeit of the sacrifices which God had appointed, they offered would-be-atoning sacrifices and sinned in them, God appeared, standing, to behold, to judge, to condemn. "And He said, smite the lintel," literally, "the chapter," or "capital," probably so called from "crowning" the pillar with a globular form, like a pomegranate. This, the spurious outward imitation of the true sanctuary, God commands to be stricken, "that the posts," or probably "the thresholds, may shake." The building was struck from above, and reeled to its base. It does not matter, whether any blow on the capital of a pillar would make the whole fabric to shake. For the blow was no blow of man. God gives the command probably to the Angel of the Lord, as, in Ezekiel's vision of the destruction of Jerusalem, the charge to destroy was given to six men Ezekiel 9:2. So the first-born of Egypt, the army of Sennacherib, were destroyed by an Angel Exodus 12:23; 2 Kings 19:34-35. An Angel stood with his sword over Jerusalem 2 Samuel 24:1, 2 Samuel 24:15-16, when God punished David's presumption in numbering the people. At one blow of the heavenly Agent the whole building shook, staggered, fell.

And cut them in the head, all of them - o This may be either by the direct agency of the Angel, or the temple itself may be represented as falling on the heads of the worshipers. As God, through Jehu, destroyed all the worshipers of Baal in the house of Baal, so here He foretells, under a like image, the destruction of all the idolaters of Israel. He had said, "they that swear by the sin of Samaria - shall fall and never rise up again." Here he represents the place of that worship the idolaters, as it seems, crowded there, and the command given to destroy them all. All Israel was not to be destroyed. "Not the least grain" was to "fall upon the earth Amos 9:9. Those then here represented as destroyed to the last man, must be a distinct class. Those destroyed in the temple must be the worshipers in the temple. In the Temple of God at Jerusalem, none entered except the priests. Even the space "between the porch and the altar" was set apart for the priests. But heresy is necessarily irreverent, because, not worshiping the One God, it had no Object of reverence. Hence, the temple of Baal was full "from end to end 2 Kings 10:21, and the worshipers of the sun at Jerusalem turned "their backs toward the Temple," and "worshiped the sun toward the east, at the door of the Temple, between the porch and the altar" Ezekiel 8:16; Ezekiel 11:1. The worshipers of the calves were commanded to "kiss" Hosea 13:2 them, and so must have filled the temple, where they were.

And I will slay the last of them - The Angel is bidden to destroy those gatered in open idolatry in one place. God, by His Omniscience, reserved the rest for His own judgment. All creatures, animate or inanimate, rational or irrational, stand at His command to fulfill His will. The mass of idolaters having perished in their idolatry, the rest, not crushed in the fall of the temple, would fain flee away, but "he that fleeth shall not flee," God says, to any good "to themselves;" yea, although they should do what for man is impossible, they should not escape God.


Am 9:1-15. Fifth and Last Vision.

None can escape the coming judgment in any hiding-place: for God is omnipresent and irresistible (Am 9:1-6). As a kingdom, Israel shall perish as if it never was in covenant with Him: but as individuals the house of Jacob shall not utterly perish, nay, not one of the least of the righteous shall fall, but only all the sinners (Am 9:7-10). Restoration of the Jews finally to their own land after the re-establishment of the fallen tabernacle of David; consequent conversion of all the heathen (Am 9:11-15).

1. Lord … upon the altar—namely, in the idolatrous temple at Beth-el; the calves which were spoken of in Am 8:14. Hither they would flee for protection from the Assyrians, and would perish in the ruins, with the vain object of their trust [Henderson]. Jehovah stands here to direct the destruction of it, them, and the idolatrous nation. He demands many victims on the altar, but they are to be human victims. Calvin and Fairbairn, and others, make it in the temple at Jerusalem. Judgment was to descend both on Israel and Judah. As the services of both alike ought to have been offered on the Jerusalem temple-altar, it is there that Jehovah ideally stands, as if the whole people were assembled there, their abominations lying unpardoned there, and crying for vengeance, though in fact committed elsewhere (compare Eze 8:1-18). This view harmonizes with the similarity of the vision in Amos to that in Isa 6:1-13, at Jerusalem. Also with the end of this chapter (Am 9:11-15), which applies both to Judah and Israel: "the tabernacle of David," namely, at Jerusalem. His attitude, "standing," implies fixity of purpose.

lintel—rather, the sphere-like capital of the column [Maurer].

posts—rather, "thresholds," as in Isa 6:4, Margin. The temple is to be smitten below as well as above, to ensure utter destruction.

cut them in the head—namely, with the broken fragments of the capitals and columns (compare Ps 68:21; Hab 3:13).

slay the last of them—their posterity [Henderson]. The survivors [Maurer]. Jehovah's directions are addressed to His angels, ministers of judgment (compare Eze 9:1-11).

he that fleeth … shall not flee away—He who fancies himself safe and out of reach of the enemy shall be taken (Am 2:14).The certainty of Israel’s desolation, Amos 9:1-10. The restoring of the tabernacle of David, and of the captivity of Israel.

I saw: as before, Amos 7:1,4,7 8:1; so here the prophet hath a fifth vision.

The Lord; the great, glorious, just, and holy God, in some visible tokens of his majesty.

Standing; either ready to execute sentence, or ready to depart, Ezekiel 9:3 10:1,4; indeed here he will do both, execute his own sentence, and depart from this people.

Upon the altar of burnt-offering before the temple at Jerusalem: here the scene is laid, this altar and temple Israel had forsaken, and set up others against it; and here God in his jealousy appears prepared to take vengeance: possibly it may intimate his future departure from Judah too. There Ezekiel, Ezekiel 9:2, saw the slaughtermen stand.

He said, commanded,

Smite the lintel of the door, or the chapiter, knop, ornament that was upon the lintel of the door, which is supposed to be of the gate of the temple, or possibly the door of the gate that led into the priests’ courts; and though the party that smites be not named, it is likely it was an angel; or possibly the prophet seemed to do it, for this is to do in vision.

That the posts may shake; which were the strength and beauty of the gate.

And cut, wound deep,

them, the people which were visionally represented as standing in the court of the temple,

in the head, that it may more fully signify the destroying of the chief of the heads of this sinful people.

All; spare not one of these.

I will slay the last; God will slay by the enemies’ sword the meanest of them, or the last, i.e. the posterity of them.

He that fleeth of them shall not flee away, or get out of danger.

He that escapeth, for the present, out of battle or besieged city,

shall not be delivered; shall yet at last fall into the enemies’ hand, or by his sword.

And I saw the Lord standing upon the altar,.... Either upon the altar of burnt offerings in the temple of Jerusalem, whither he had removed from the cherubim; signifying his being about to depart, and that he was displeased, and would not be appeased by sacrifice: so the Targum,

"said Amos the prophet, I saw the glory of the Lord removing from the cherub, and it dwelt upon the altar;''

and the vision may refer to the destruction of the Jews, their city and temple, either by the Chaldeans, or by the Romans: or rather, since the prophecy in general, and this vision in particular, seems to respect the ten tribes only, it was upon the altar at Bethel the Lord was seen standing, as offended at the sacrifices there offered, and to hinder them from sacrificing them, as well as to take vengeance on those that offered them, 1 Kings 13:1;

and he said; the Lord said, either to the prophet in vision, or to one of the angels, as Aben Ezra and Kimchi; or to the executioners of his vengeance, the enemies of the people of Israel:

smite the lintel of the door, that the posts may shake; the upper lintel, on which pomegranates and flowers were carved, and therefore called "caphtor", as Kimchi thinks; this was the lintel of the door, either of the temple at Jerusalem, as the Jewish writers generally suppose; or rather of the temple at Bethel, see 1 Kings 12:31; which was to be smitten with such three, that the posts thereof should shake; signifying the destruction of the whole building in a short time, and that none should be able to go in and out thereat:

and cut them in the head, all of them; and I will slay the last of them with the sword; which shows that the lintel and doorposts are not to be taken literally, but figuratively; and that the smiting and cutting of them intend the destruction of men; by the "head", the king, and the princes, and nobles, or the priests; and, by "the last of them", the common people, the meanest sort, or those that were left of them, as Aben Ezra and Kimchi:

he that fleeth of them shall not flee away; he that attempts to make his escape, and shall flee for his life, shall not get clear, but either be stopped, or pursued and taken:

and he that escapeth of them shall not be delivered; he that does get out of the hands of those that destroy with the sword shall not be delivered from death, but shall die by famine or pestilence. The Targum is,

"and he said, unless the people of the house of Israel return to the law, the candlestick shall be extinguished, King Josiah shall be killed, and the house destroyed, and the courts dissipated, and the vessels of the house of the sanctuary shall go into captivity; and the rest of them I will slay with the sword, &c.''

referring the whole to the Jews, and to the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem.

I saw the Lord standing upon the {a} altar: and he said, Smite the lintel of the door, that the posts may shake: and cut them in the {b} head, all of them; and I will slay the last of them with the sword: he that fleeth of them shall not flee away, and he that escapeth of them shall not be delivered.

(a) Which was at Jerusalem: for he did not appear in the idolatrous places of Israel.

(b) Both the most important of them, and also the common people.

1. standing] stationed (Amos 7:7).

by the altar] lit. over, i.e. leaning over, an idiomatic use of the preposition, found elsewhere, as Numbers 23:3; Numbers 23:6; 1 Kings 13:1 &c.: cf. ch. Amos 7:7. The altar meant is the altar at Beth-el, the chief Israelitish sanctuary and national religious centre (Amos 7:13).

Smite the chapiters that the thresholds may shake, and cut them off on to the head of all of them] A violent blow is to be dealt out to the chapiters, or capitals at the top of the columns supporting the roof of the temple: the temple will quiver to its very foundations; the broken fragments of the capitals—and no doubt, though this is not expressly mentioned, of the roof as well—will fall down upon the heads of the worshippers assembled below, burying them beneath the ruins. It has been questioned who is addressed in the words smite and cut. The same question has to be asked sometimes elsewhere in the prophets (Isaiah 13:2; Jeremiah 5:10; Jeremiah 6:4; Isaiah 57:14; Isaiah 62:10 &c.); and the reply is always the same, viz. the agent (or agents) whom in each case the prophet pictures as naturally fitted to carry out the commission: here, probably, an angel. The chapiter, properly a knop,—the word is used in Exodus 25:31 and elsewhere of a spherical ornament on the stem and branches of the golden candlestick,—will have been the globular ornament at the top of a column (so Zephaniah 2:14). Comp. in Solomon’s temple, 1 Kings 7:16-20 (where the word, however, is not the same).

and I will slay the last of them] the residue of them (Amos 4:2): those who escaped at the time that the temple fell, should perish subsequently by the sword. The two last clauses of the verse, as well as the three following verses, emphasize further the same thought.

Amos 9:1-6. The fifth vision, the smitten sanctuary. The people are all assembled for worship in their sanctuary: Jehovah is seen standing by the altar, and commanding the building to be so smitten that it may fall and destroy the worshippers: none, it is emphatically added, shall escape the irrevocable doom. The worshippers are manifestly intended to symbolize the entire nation.Verses 1-10. - § 6. The fifth vision displays the Lord standing by the altar and commanding the destruction of the temple (ver. 1). No one shall escape this judgment, flee whither he will (vers. 2-4); for God is Almighty (vers. 5, 6). Their election shall not save the guilty Israelites; still they shall not be utterly destroyed (vers. 7-10). Verse 1. - I saw the Lord. It is now no longer a mere emblem that the prophet sees, but actual destruction. He beholds the majesty of God, as Isaiah 6:1; Ezekiel 10:1. Upon (or, by) the altar; i.e. the altar of burnt offering at Jerusalem, Where, it is supposed, the whole nation, Israelites and Judaeans, are assembled for worship. It is natural, at first sight, to suppose that the sanctuary of the northern kingdom is the scene of this vision, as the destruction of idolatry is here emblemized; but more probably Bethel is not meant, for there were more altars than one there (Amos 3:14), and one cannot imagine the Lord standing by the symbol of the calf worship. Smite. The command is mysteriously addressed to the destroying angel (comp. Exodus 12:13; 2 Samuel 24:15, etc.; 2 Kings 19:35). The lintel of the door; τὸ ἱλαστήριον (Septuagint); cardinem (Vulgate); better, the chapiter (Zephaniah 2:14); i.e. the capital of the columns. The word kaphtor is used in Exodus 25:31, etc., for the knop or ornament on the golden candlesticks; here the idea is that the temple receives a blow on the top of the pillars which support it sufficient to cause its overthrow. The LXX. rendering arises from a confusion of two Hebrew words somewhat similar. The posts; the thresholds; i.e. the base. The knop and the threshold imply the total destruction from summit to base. Cut them in the head, all of them; rather, break them [the capital and the thresholds] to pieces upon the head of all. Let the falling building cover them with its ruins. The Vulgate renders, avaritia enim in capite omnium, confounding two words. Jerome had the same Hebrew reading, as he translates, quaetus eorum, avaritia, as if giving the reason for the punishment. The overthrown temple presents a forcible picture of the destruction of the theocracy. The last of them (Amos 4:2); the remnant; any who escape the fall of the temple. He that fleeth, etc. All hope of escape shall be cut off. In Joel 3:2 and Joel 3:3 Joel is speaking not of events belonging to his own time, or to the most recent past, but of that dispersion of the whole of the ancient covenant nation among the heathen, which was only completely effected on the conquest of Palestine and destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and which continues to this day; though we cannot agree with Hengstenberg, that this furnishes an argument in favour of the allegorical interpretation of the army of locusts in ch. 1 and 2. For since Moses had already foretold that Israel would one day be driven out among the heathen (Leviticus 26:33.; Deuteronomy 28:36.), Joel might assume that this judgment was a truth well known in Israel, even though he had not expressed it in his threatening of punishment in ch. 1 and 2. Joe 3:3 depicts the ignominious treatment of Israel in connection with this catastrophe. The prisoners of war are distributed by lot among the conquerors, and disposed of by them to slave-dealers at most ridiculous prices, - a boy for a harlot, a girl for a drink of wine. Even in Joel's time, many Israelites may no doubt have been scattered about in distant heathen lands (cf. v. 5); but the heathen nations had not yet cast lots upon the nation as a whole, to dispose of the inhabitants as slaves, and divide the land among themselves. This was not done till the time of the Romans.

(Note: After the conquest and destruction of Jerusalem, Titus disposed of the prisoners, whose number reached 97,000 in the course of the war, in the following manner: Those under seventeen years of age were publicly sold; of the remainder, some were executed immediately, some sent away to work in the Egyptian mines, some kept for the public shows to fight with wild beasts in all the chief cities of Rome; and only the tallest and most handsome for the triumphal procession in Rome (compare Josephus, de bell. Jud. vi. 9, 2, 3). And the Jews who were taken prisoners in the Jewish war in the time of Hadrian, are said to have been sold in the slave-market at Hebron at so low a price, that four Jews were disposed of for a measure of barley. Even in the contests of the Ptolemaeans and Seleucidae for the possession of Palestine, thousands of Jews were sold as prisoners of war. Thus, for example, the Syrian commander Nicanor, in his expedition against the Jews in the Maccabaean war, sold by anticipation, in the commercial towns along the Mediterranean, such Jews as should be made prisoners, at the rate of ninety prisoners for one talent; whereupon 1000 slave-dealers accompanied the Syrian army, and carried fetters with them for the prisoners (1 Maccabees 3:41; 2 Maccabees 8:11, 25; Jos. Ant. xii. 7, 3).)

But, as many of the earlier commentators have clearly seen, we must not stop even at this. The people and inheritance of Jehovah are not merely the Old Testament Israel as such, but the church of the Lord of both the old and new covenants, upon which the Spirit of God is poured out; and the judgment which Jehovah will hold upon the nations, on account of the injuries inflicted upon His people, is the last general judgment upon the nations, which will embrace not merely the heathen Romans and other heathen nations by whom the Jews have been oppressed, but all the enemies of the people of God, both within and without the earthly limits of the church of the Lord, including even carnally-minded Jews, Mohammedans, and nominal Christians, who are heathens in heart.

(Note: As J. Marck correctly observes, after mentioning the neighbouring nations that were hostile to Judah, and then the Syrians and Romans: "We might proceed in the same way to all the enemies of the Christian church, from its very cradle to the end of time, such as carnal Jews, Gentile Romans, cruel Mohammedans, impious Papists, and any others who either have borne or yet will bear the punishment of their iniquity, according to the rule and measure of the restitution of the church, down to those enemies who shall yet remain at the coming of Christ, and be overthrown at the complete and final redemption of His church.")

Before depicting the final judgment upon the hostile nations of the world, Joel notices in Joel 3:4-8 the hostility which the nations round about Judah had manifested towards it in his own day, and foretels to these a righteous retribution for the crimes they had committed against the covenant nation. Joel 3:4. "And ye also, what would ye with me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all ye coasts of Philistia? will ye repay a doing to me, or do anything to me? Quickly, hastily will I turn back your doing upon your head. Joel 3:5. That ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have brought my best jewels into your temples. Joel 3:6. And the sons of Judah and the sons of Jerusalem ye have sold to the sons of Javan, to remove them far from their border. Joel 3:7. Behold, I waken them from the place whither ye have sold them, and turn back your doing upon your head. Joel 3:8. And sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of Javan, and they sell them to the Sabaeans, to a people far off; for Jehovah has spoken it." By vegam the Philistines and Phoenicians are added to the gōyim already mentioned, as being no less culpable than they; not, however, in the sense of, "and also if one would inquire more thoroughly into the fact" (Ewald), or, "and even so far as ye are concerned, who, in the place of the friendship and help which ye were bound to render as neighbours, have oppressed my people" (Rosenmller), for such additions as these are foreign to the context; but rather in this sense, "and yea also ... do not imagine that ye can do wrong with impunity, as though he had a right so to do." מה־אתּם לי does not mean, "What have I to do with you?" for this would be expressed differently (compare Joshua 22:24; Judges 11:12); but, "What would ye with me?" The question is unfinished, because of its emotional character, and is resumed and completed immediately afterwards in a disjunctive form (Hitzig). Tyre and Sidon, the two chief cities of the Phoenicians (see at Joshua 19:29 and Joshua 11:8), represent all the Phoenicians. כל גּלילות פל, "all the circles or districts of the Philistines," are the five small princedoms of Philistia (see at Joshua 13:2). גּמוּל, the doing, or inflicting (sc., of evil), from gâmal, to accomplish, to do (see at Isaiah 3:9). The disjunctive question, "Will ye perhaps repay to me a deed, i.e., a wrong, that I have done to you, or of your own accord attempt anything against me?" has a negative meaning: "Ye have neither cause to avenge yourselves upon me, i.e., upon my people Israel, nor any occasion to do it harm. But if repayment is the thing in hand, I will, and that very speedily (qal mehērâh, see Isaiah 5:26), bring back your doing upon your own head" (cf. Psalm 7:17). To explain what is here said, an account is given in Joel 3:5, Joel 3:6 of what they have done to the Lord and His people, - namely, taken away their gold and silver, and brought their costly treasures into their palaces or temples. These words are not to be restricted to the plundering of the temple and its treasury, but embrace the plundering of palaces and of the houses of the rich, which always followed the conquest of towns (cf. 1 Kings 14:26; 2 Kings 14:14). היכליכם also are not temples only, but palaces as well (cf. Isaiah 13:22; Amos 8:3; Proverbs 30:28). Joel had no doubt the plundering of Judah and Jerusalem by the Philistines and Arabians in the time of Jehoram in his mind (see 2 Chronicles 21:17). The share of the Phoenicians in this crime was confined to the fact, that they had purchased from the Philistines the Judaeans who had been taken prisoners, by them, and sold them again as salves to the sons of Javan, i.e., to the Ionians or Greeks of Asia Minor.

(Note: On the widespread slave-trade of the Phoenicians, see Movers, Phnizier, ii. 3, p. 70ff.)

The clause, "that ye might remove them far from their border," whence there would be no possibility of their returning to their native land, serves to bring out the magnitude of the crime. This would be repaid to them according to the true lex talionis (Joel 3:7, Joel 3:8). The Lord would raise up the members of His own nation from the place to which they had been sold, i.e., would bring them back again into their own land, and deliver up the Philistines and Phoenicians into the power of the Judaeans (mâkhar beyâd as in Judges 2:14; Judges 3:8, etc.), who would then sell their prisoners as slaves to the remote people of the Sabaeans, a celebrated trading people in Arabia Felix (see at 1 Kings 10:1). This threat would certainly be fulfilled, for Jehovah had spoken it (cf. Isaiah 1:20). This occurred partly on the defeat of the Philistines by Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:6-7) and Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:8), where Philistian prisoners of war were certainly sold as slaves; but principally after the captivity, when Alexander the Great and his successors set many of the Jewish prisoners of war in their lands at liberty (compare the promise of King Demetrius to Jonathan, "I will send away in freedom such of the Judaeans as have been made prisoners, and reduced to slavery in our land," Josephus, Ant. xiii. 2, 3), and portions of the Philistian and Phoenician lands were for a time under Jewish sway; when Jonathan besieged Ashkelon and Gaza (1 Maccabees 10:86; 11:60); when King Alexander (Balas) ceded Ekron and the district of Judah (1 Maccabees 10:89); when the Jewish king Alexander Jannaeaus conquered Gaza, and destroyed it (Josephus, Ant. xiii. 13, 3; bell. Jud. i. 4, 2); and when, subsequent to the cession of Tyre, which had been conquered by Alexander the Great, to the Seleucidae, Antiochus the younger appointed Simon commander-in-chief from the Ladder of Tyre to the border of Egypt (1 Maccabees 1:59).

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